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German minister meets Dalai despite China's objection
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German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul met the Dalai Lama on Monday morning in a Berlin hotel despite China's objection.

Her move has been protested by the Chinese side. Zhang Junhui, press attache of the Chinese Embassy in Germany, told German media that the Dalai Lama is not only a religious leader, but also a politician-in-exile who has been long engaged in anti-China separatist activities.

Zhang noted that the German government has reiterated recently that Tibet is an integral part of China and it does not support or encourage any activities pursuing "Tibet independence." Therefore, China is strongly opposed to any meeting between the Dalai Lama and German officials, Zhang said.

"We are demanding that Germany strictly observe the one-China policy so that the stable development of bilateral relations remains possible," Zhang said.

Wieczorek-Zeul is the only German cabinet member to meet the Dalai Lama this time.

Both German President Horst Koehler and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier refused to meet the Dalai Lama, citing scheduling problems. Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting Latin America.

Senior members of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SDP) insisted that Wieczorek-Zeul has informed neither Steinmeier nor SPD leader Kurt Beck of her meeting with the Dalai Lama in advance. Both of them reportedly reacted angrily at Wieczorek-Zeul's decision.

A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry said on Monday it is expecting further dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama's representatives and hopes that such talks achieve a good solution for both sides, which does not call into question China's territorial integrity.

(Xinhua News Agency May 20, 2008)

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